When our old friend Henry Abbott sold his baby True Hoop to ESPN, we wished him luck and begged him to never change. Other than his newfound love of press box food, we haven't noticed much that's too different than the old days, other than that wretched comments section. We're still a fan.
As a consequence of True Hoop — or, more likely, a logical next step — we now have Hashmarks, by respected journalist Matt Mosley. Mosley is at a disadvantage, because he doesn't have years and years of blogging experience like Abbott, and therefore he hasn't already mastered the notion of "voice" that makes a blog successful (or unsuccessful ... or just really smug). Because you must remember: A blog's gotta have ATTITUDE! It's gotta have EDGE! It's gotta be willing to LAY IT ON THE LINE! Blogs are IRREVERENT with PERSONALITY! And they're SELF-REFERENTIAL!
Therefore ... we get Mosley — who seems like a nice enough fellow — trying extremely hard to do a legitimate impersonation of what ESPN considers a "blogger." It's cute: He's really trying so hard. But the seams are showing.
After the jump, a few Matt Mosley statements, followed by what we imagine are his editor's notes.
• "Just grabbed a cup of steaming Monsoon Malaba at Lake Highlands' famous White Rock Coffee House and I'm ready to go."
Matt, this is excellent; the key to a successful blog is making the reader feel like they are WITH YOU on your journey. Personal details like this are why Peter King is on TV now. Play this up more. Remember: It's about personality, and nothing says personality like your personal coffee choices.
• " In other news, several prominent blogs across the nation waved the white flag yesterday and have promised to join forces with Hashmarks. For the 375 folks who asked me to link to your blog yesterday, just give me time. Don't read anything into who's on the Blog Roll right now - unless you're actually on the Blog Roll."
Good! We know we're going to be mocked for FINALLY starting a football blog by those who have been doing it for years, so let's let everybody know that bloggers, deep down, are whores for traffic and therefore will kneel before Zod if they think we'll get them some extra page views. 375! Take that, Big Lead! Keep it up, man. A thought, though: Don't say "joined forces." You know we all secretly hate these people.
• "Just spent an or so sifting through some of your e-mail. Here's what you guys were saying on Day 1 of Hashmarks:
* "Love the blog, Matt. I think you will definitely accomplish the goal of me wasting time while making my measly little wage here at my boring office job." Dustin Foret"
Perfect! This is exactly how we envisioned this during last week's conference call! Those kids are out there just BEGGING to be entertained! Told you Frank from ad sales was right! Wait ... doesn't Dustin Foret work in OUR office?
• "I began reading your blog this afternoon and I really enjoyed. Your style is smooth and lighthearted. Your comedic value is superb. As a huge football fan, I look forward to your blog reaching the top of the ESPN list. You're off to a good start." Jimmy B."
Your comedic value, Matt, really is superb. We got 'em, Matt! This blog stuff is easy!
Listen, we don't mean to mock Mosley, who's a fun writer and knows his stuff. But canned irreverence is worse than willful obliviousness. It's blog time! Let's do a blog! Tell 'em about your coffee choices! Toss in some pop culture references! Look, bullets! It's a perfectly fine blog, but if feels overproduced and overly fussed over, like there's a team of editors and managers parsing every word. That said, it's the first week; we'll give it a chance, because we'll surely be reading every day, because it's ESPN, and we have no choice.
Sizing Up Hashmarks [The Big Lead]